‘Red Widow’ Review: Pilot
In this supersize two hour premiere, there is just way too much unnecessary stuff going on and gives viewers no reason to care about any of it. Although the second half picks up, it’s just too far-fetched to be even remotely relatable.
There has been some buzz that Red Widow, a show based on the Dutch series Penoza, is ABC’s answer to Breaking Bad. Well, trust me, Vince Gilligan – you have nothing to worry about. The concept of a criminal woman antihero is intriguing and has yet to be done very effectively on television so I admire the concept, but the execution is terrible.
For the first hour we have to suffer through a very unnecessary introduction to Marta Walraven’s (Radha Mitchell) husband and family. The show is called Red Widow and the premise of the show is of a woman who takes over her deceased’s husband crime business, so he’s a walking corpse from the beginning. Although Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels) as Evan is a fine actor, the two have zero chemistry, and we know he’s about to die from the moment the show starts. So why…just why?
For some reason the writers found it necessary to cover too many worthless subplots in this first hour, which may have not been so bad if they were touched upon after Marta enters the crime world, not at the beginning when we don’t know or care about any of these people. Not to mention, the whole show feels much too “glitzy” and doesn’t have nearly enough grit to even compare to a show like Breaking Bad.
Marta isn’t totally clean though – actually, she isn’t at all. Her father is a Russian mob boss and she convinced her husband to get into the pot selling business. I also find it a copout that Marta’s husband made all of his money from the least innocent of drugs. The creators just couldn’t push themselves to make it cocaine or something, huh? Well, Irwin at least agrees it’s a copout, so he steals a lot of cocaine from uber powerful drog lord Schiller (Goran Visnjic), which is what ends up killing Evan and making Irwin a prime suspect.
The second hour begins to really delve into what the show is about, but that doesn’t make it much better. While this may have all looked amazing on paper – soccer mom widow having to begin a life of crime and evolve into the female Heisenberg, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense why she would get into the business, and why anyone would want to work with her. When the entire foundation of the show doesn’t seem remotely feasible, it’s going to be hard to ever win me over again.
At the end of this very long two hours with my eyes glazed over, I realized that I simply didn’t care about any of it, and possibly the only remotely interesting aspect left is who exactly killed Marta’s husband, which I’m assuming will play a huge part of the season. It also isn’t a good sign that the show is created by a Twilight writer, Melissa Rosenberg, although she was a big part of the first few seasons of Dexter, which were petty good. Maybe it’s just that network television generally fails in every aspect of making a gritty show.